Fact Checked

How Much Does Cialis Cost?

If you’re one of 30 million American adults suffering from erectile dysfunction (male impotence) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), you have several different treatment options available to relieve your symptoms. You’ve probably heard about Cialis, which is one of the most popular medications prescribed for these two conditions. Cialis was recently made available under its generic version as tadalafil, which has helped reduce costs for this notoriously expensive medication. There’s plenty of reasons why Cialis can be so pricey, though. Numerous factors influence the cost of Cialis, including the drug’s history, the differences between Cialis and its competitors, available dosages, and frequency of use.

History

Cialis was first approved by the FDA on November 21, 2003, joining a relatively new group of erectile dysfunction medications that were marketed beginning in 1998 with Viagra. At the time of its original approval, Cialis was marketed for treatment of erectile dysfunction on an as-needed basis. Just over four years later, in January 2008, Cialis was approved for daily use to treat erectile dysfunction, just like. This breakthrough was significant because it allowed patients who chose this option to have sex spontaneously, rather than needing to take a pill 30 minutes prior to intercourse. In October 2011, Cialis was approved by the FDA to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, or an enlarged prostate that may occur as a result of aging in men. No generic forms of the drug were available until October 2018, when tadalafil was released to the market. Today, more than 16 different manufacturers produce tadalafil to treat erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Differences Between Cialis and Competitors

Although Cialis and its competitors all treat erectile dysfunction, there are some key differences between them that influence the cost of each medication. The medications may seem similar on the surface, but they are not interchangeable and not all patients will be able to choose between all of the options depending on their medical history. 
 
Use
Unlike Viagra, Levitra, and Stendra, Cialis is the only erectile dysfunction medication that can be taken either on a daily basis or as needed. When used daily, Cialis allows the patient to have sex spontaneously and is kept at a consistent level in the bloodstream without increasing high blood pressure. Cialis can also be taken on an as-needed basis approximately 30 minutes prior to sexual activity. Viagra is taken 30 to 60 minutes prior to sexual activity, while Levitra takes 60 minutes to work. Stendra is marketed for its fast-acting abilities and can be taken as soon as 15 minutes before sexual activity. 
 
Dose
There is a wide range of dosages available between Cialis, Viagra, Levitra, and Stendra. Cialis comes in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg strengths, while Viagra is prescribed in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg doses, generic Viagra, or generic cialis, is prescribed in 20 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg, and 100 mg doses, Levitra comes in strengths of 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg, and Stendra comes in doses of 50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg. The average prescribed dose for Cialis is 10 mg, while the average prescribed dose for Viagra is 50 mg, the average prescribed dose for Levitra is 10 mg or 5 mg (for those aged 65 and older), and Stendra’s standard dose is 100 mg. While standard dosages are not the prescribed dose that every patient will end up taking, this is often the starting point for doctors as they begin a new treatment regimen for their patient.

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Effectiveness
All four of the major medications are extremely effective when used to treat erectile dysfunction; their perceived effectiveness depends on your personal needs. Just like sildenafil, cialis is the “endurance athlete” of the group and can be taken 30 minutes before sex and lasting up to 36 hours when taken as needed.  For those looking for a fast acting medication, Stendra works in as little as 15 minutes and lasts for up to 6 hours. Viagra can be taken 30 to 60 minutes before sex and lasts for up to 4 hours, which is important for those who take medications that would interfere with the drug if it remained in the bloodstream. Levitra should be taken 60 minutes before sex and lasts up to 5 hours; the comparatively fewer side effects for Levitra make it a popular choice with individuals with a variety of medical conditions

Dosages

Both Cialis and its generic form, tadalafil, are manufactured in tables containing 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, or 20 mg of the medication, so many options are available. For those who are not yet prescribed Cialis and are interested in knowing which dosage might be appropriate for them, the first thing to know is that the appropriate treatment dose of tadalafil for you will depend on several factors, including the condition being treated, your age, height, and weight, and the severity of your condition. While the average starting dose of tadalafil for erectile dysfunction is generally 10 mg, your doctor will prescribe the right dose for you. The dosage you take will also depend on how you intend to take the drug (daily or on an as needed basis). Typically, the 2.5 mg and 5 mg doses of Cialis are taken by those who take the medication daily, while the 10 mg and 20 mg tablets are taken by individuals who use the medication on an as needed basis.  

Costs

Due to its reputation as the longest-lasting treatment for erectile dysfunction and its approval for daily use, Cialis remains expensive even in its generic form. Costs have decreased by approximately one third since the release of the generic drug tadalafil. Today, the cost to fill a tadalafil prescription drug of 30 tablets at a dose of 5 mg is approximately 155 dollars, or 5 dollars per pill, when paid for in cash. If that seems hard to believe, consider that you’ll save about one half purchasing the generic form of Cialis rather than the brand name drug. A 30 day supply of Cialis at a dose of 5 mg would cost approximately 400 dollars at most pharmacies when paid for in cash.  The table below indicates approximate prices for a 30 day supply of generic tadalafil and Cialis at a variety of doses.

Approximate Costs of Cialis and Tadalafil (in Dollars)

 

Cialis

Tadalafil

 

Per Pill

30 Day Supply

Per Pill

30 Day Supply

2.5 mg oral tablet

$12.70

$380.96

$3.96

$118.67

5 mg oral tablet

$12.70

$380.96

$5.18

$155.50

10 mg oral tablet

$72.87

$2,186.24

$22.45

$673.79

20 mg oral tablet

$72.87

$2,186.24

$21.49

$644.61

 

Viagra prices and a cialis price are subject to fluctuation based on supply and demand and occasional stock shortages. The table reflects cash prices, which are not valid when combined with insurance plans. Additional discounts may be offered for prescriptions purchased as a 90-day supply; however, this option is not available for all medication dosages.
 

Insurance Coverage

Prior to release in a generic form, Cialis was not covered by the majority of Medicare and insurance plans. While the brand name drug is still generally not covered, the generic tadalafil is  covered by most Medicare and insurance plans. While it might seem like processing your prescription savings through your insurance is always going to be the cheapest way to purchase your medication, we recommend checking the cash price, looking for coupons, researching patient assistance programs, or purchasing the drug with a local pharmacy discount card, as you may be able to save even more than when purchasing the drug through insurance.  

Coupons and Rebates

While coupons and rebates are rarely offered for the generic forms of medications, manufacturers will sometimes offer coupons or reduced copays on the brand name form of the medication. The first step is to ask your doctor if they are aware of any existing discounts or coupon codes that may be available, as sometimes these offers are extended upon receipt of a sample from your doctor’s office. If your healthcare professional is not aware of any offers or promotions, search online. Some offers are available directly from a website and can be easily printed off, while others may require registering online and activating a coupon card or completing a questionnaire.
 

Patient Assistance Programs

Patient assistance programs are offered by manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies as a way to provide free or discounted medications to low income, uninsured, or under-insured people who meet certain criteria. In many cases, individuals who are covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid are not eligible for these programs. Patient assistance programs have varying criteria and may or may not allow coverage by a commercial insurance firm. Some programs set a limit on the amount of income a patient may earn each year, while others have no specific income criteria. Patient assistance programs can be available for a specific period of time (such as six months), for the life of the prescription, for new prescriptions only, or for patients taking the medication on a long-term basis. It is recommended to check the manufacturer website to search for patient assistance programs prior to visiting your pharmacy.
 

Published March 14th, 2020 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by Chris Riley

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